Can robotics fix the rape debate?


There is a big twitter argument over the word rape. Activists and arguments abound on twitter, and while I don’t generally get involved, I skim through some of what comes in on my feeds. I’m currently following around 2000 people, most of whom I sort into lists, but I’m a speed reader and sometimes look over my raw incoming stack in real time.

It looks like some people are insisting that forced sex isn’t necessarily rape for several reasons. I could care less about joining the argument. Rather, I wonder if it would be helpful to point out that forcing anyone to do anything they don’t want or like at that moment is a humiliation. Humiliating each other isn’t cool. Humiliating someone is belittling them as a person. Even if forcing someone to be your sex object doesn’t physically hurt them and only ruffles a few feathers, it is still a humiliation.

I was once married to a pedophile, so I feel qualified to make an observation or two. I’ve also been raped a couple of times, so I have opinions. I’m not going to tell those stories here. I think it’s more behooving to share what I’ve learned about other people going through these experiences on both sides. The number one thing I learned is that it’s human nature not to believe anyone could do something like that if you’ve never experienced it for yourself. (This applies across the board to all kinds of behaviors.) I was told by some very nice Christians that I was making things up, watching too much TV, wanting attention, and it couldn’t be that bad. Since I didn’t get one single awww and pat on the head, I like to point out that I don’t strive for negative attention because it has simply never worked for me, but neither does being honest and asking for help, apparently. Other people I’ve met who grew up being used for sex tend to talk in code. They put the truth out there for a blind and deaf society, while a seedy underground thrives all around. Then there are the people who do the using. They have every justification on the tips of their tongues- they’re not really hurting anyone, sex is a natural thing, it only takes a few seconds or minutes, and so on. The subtlest justifications come from parents who use small children, or even babies. The stupidest justification is money- anything can be winked away if it’s a product you pay for, even if the people involved are obviously under legal age.

How about we say it like this- If someone cries, it was rape. If someone feels embarrassed and can’t talk about it, it wasn’t nice sex. If someone carries a lifetime scar that gets in the way of having normal social interaction that leads to normal consensual intercourse, yes, it was hurting someone to force a few minutes doing something they didn’t want to do. If it’s something you can’t reveal in regular group setting because someone will get mad at you and call the police, yeah, that’s rape.

I can’t decide if the masked twitter accounts decrying the definition of rape are real people who support sex abuse or vigilantes stirring up response by playing devil’s advocate. This banter in my feeds is only the flotsam and jetsam on the surface a thriving industry, and ultimately a great distraction from that. Since free speech allows questionable materials to be printed or filmed and sold while navigating delicately around the law, it seems to me that human trafficking has more support from all sides than it does rescuers, and until we come to grips with turning our eyes away from that which is delicate, we can hardly define that which is indelicate. Telling someone they can rent a video and watch but not enact for themselves is pretty ridiculous. I vote we find a way to merge these thought processes so we can truly go forward. I see cheers going up on twitter over statements like one of the jobs robots are being developed for is prostitution. How much you want to bet that only drives the price up on black market human trafficking? How soon will we see printed materials specializing in humans being raped by robots?

I’ve had many years to think about these things. I keep saying there’s a book…


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